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4.7 out of 5 stars
The Politics of Breastfeeding: When Breasts are Bad for Business
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54 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on 10 July 1998
As someone who had to defend breastfeeding my child, I already had strong views about how society looks at the practise. The first time I read this book (first edition)I found the history behind it fascinating. What really alarmed me, though, was the truth behind formulas and what used to pass as formula! After getting the second edition, I was dismayed to find that nothing had improved in 10 years. This book is well researched an passionate. Be warned! After reading this, you may just become an activist!
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 29 September 2009
It makes me sad that any promotion of breastfeeding is now seen as 'making those who can't feed feel guilty'. This book explores how we have come to this point in the industrialised world, and looks at the impact of unethical marketing practices on developing countries.
Palmer really knows her stuff, and the book is well laid out, though the topic means it's not light reading. The myths around women's lives in history are explored, and I particularly enjoyed the information about natural birth spacing through breastfeeding, knowledge that has been all but lost, leading to more maternal deaths and ill health.
There is some hope, for example from projects in Brazil, but noone makes money from breastfeeding, and sadly I can't see the situation changing anytime soon.
All in all, a powerful book, meticulously researched, and highly recommended. Misses out on 5 stars simply because it seemed to fade at the end, rather than finish with a summing up, which I would have appreciated.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 1 August 2010
I was recommended this by another parent and boy was I ignorant. I read this very quickly and was absolutely horrified by some of the actions of formula companies. In this world profit really does come before anything else. I love the 1st part of the book, where even as a mother of 2 breastfed babies, I learnt more than I ever knew about the amazing and wonder stuff that breastmilk is. This is a well researched book and by releasing a another edition, she has brought it right up to date. I was worried it would be preachy and dogmatic but this wasn't the case at all, the author has a sense of humour and while you can tell she is passionate about the subject, she does not allow the bias to come across.
The decline of breastfeeding affects society as a whole not just children and parents, everyone should read this book - I have passed it on.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
I often wondered why women do not breastfeed anymore. Is it because it seems easier to bottlefeed, is it because they heard so much about possible problems, is it just because they are to vain and afraid what it will do to their breasts, etc?
Then I came across this book... breastfeeding is a long forgotten art, caused by many factors, main of them change in woman's place in society and workplace through industrial revolution, forceful and false advertising of artificial baby foods from manufacturers, often supported by medical profession, etc.
This book is a great study of the phenomena of breastfeeding (or rather its decline) and is well researched and supported by references of studies. The style is very friendly and easy to read, full of photos and with the extensive reference guide at the end.
I strongly recommend this book not only to mothers, but also to medical profession, anyone who studies the history of economics, media or advertising as well as human relations!
An absolute MUST read!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 24 June 2009
The Politics of Breastfeeding: When Breasts are Bad for Business

After having waited eagerly for over a year for this book (I kid you not I preordered it in Summer 2008) I can now say that it was well worth the wait.

It's without a doubt the sort of book that gets you thinking whilst really really cross - if it's not a call to action for those who read it I just don't know what will get people moving on this subject.

The book was easy to read, and well referenced.

My only criticism was probably that it came across as a bit ranty (perhaps only to me) towards the end and in all honesty I find the big scale thinking probably a bit unrealistic (the cynic in me? I wish I did not find it so?).

I have so far recommended this to all my friends with even the slightest interest in breastfeeding and women's issues, and will continue to do so.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 31 May 2009
The Politics of Breastfeeding: When Breasts are Bad for Business
I have waited patiently, since the UNICEF conference in November, to get my hands on this book and it has been worth every second of the wait. I have read so much that can help me in my job that I will have to re-read it just to make sure I have taken it all in and remembered. This is not a book to read whilst on a relaxing holiday as it does make you blood boil to read about infant milk manufacturers practices. I did just that and almost fell out with my 80 year old mother in law when she adamantly assured me that her husband, 'who was reared on watered down condensed milk' came to no harm!
They say knowledge is power and I really believe that what I have acquired from reading The Politics of Breastfeeding will enable me to continue championing the breastfeeding cause!
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on 17 March 2008
I was overwhelmed when I read this book. I think it should be required reading in schools. It's so much more than just about how you feed a baby. It shows how choices have been taken away from women - and men - and how corrupt the world is. It's profoundly powerful, and sad in places. Everyone should read this book. I wonder why Oprah hasn't got hold of it yet?
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 3 February 1999
This book will make you angry, as it describes the way many women and babies have been conned out of their birthright. However, it is not just about politics. It contains plenty of information about breastfeeding and health (for both mother and baby), with references. The writing style is easy to read and entertaining, and lots of anecdotes make it personal in tone. There is practical information on breastfeeding too - good to read BEFORE you have a child.
As far as the 'politics' bit goes, the book was stimulating, informative, and yes, I got angry. This is despite the fact that I disagreed totally with the author's views on economics - she is straight out of the pages of the Socialist Workers Student Society newsletter. She appears to blame most of the world's evils on the free market, but it was Government-employed medical staff who wrecked breastfeeding in the 1950s and thereabouts. Nestle & co may peddle artificial baby milks, but women only started using them when doctors, midwives or health visitors told them to supplement.
Aside from that, great book - exposes the pro-bottlefeeding arguments for the deceitful tosh that they are.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 24 June 2009
This is the first book review I have ever written, does that give you an idea of how I rate it compared to other books. As a mother who was fooled sufficiently into thinking formula was 'good enough' for my first child, when breastfeeding was challenging, I implore every mother to be and health professional to buy this book. The formula companies have put a lot of effort and money into the inappropriate advertising ignoring the price someone else has to pay, we all need to wake up and realise this is what big business is about not about looking after us. Health Professionals read this book and recognize your responsibilities to your mothers, mothers read it and make a choice on fact not someones colourful story.

Grandparents and friends of young mothers read it and understand why it matters so much to keep going for some mothers who find breastfeeding an art form to be learnt.

Enviromentalists read it and wake up to another crime against our planet.

People who care for the developing world read it and become aware of what is being done to their children.

I think that should cover most people... basically if you read one book this decade make it this one it , but be warned it may change the way you look at the baby food aisle in the supermarket for ever!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 19 June 2009
This book is an excellent read. Having grown up in a household in which we boycotted Nestle it is very interesting to find out why action against artificial baby milk promotion remains an important political cause.
The book is very well written and well researched. Most points have several citations. It is an excellent anthropolological and feminist piece of writing as well as being a facinating social history. I cannot recommend this book enough for anyone with even a passing interest in the subject.
It is shocking what the baby milk producers have got away with and are still getting away with - and with baby number 2 soon to arrive has made me even more militant in my wish to breastfeed, has armed me with lots of facts and new points of view and has helped me see the hidden agenda behind a lot of artifical milk adverts. Buy this book, you will not be disappointed!
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